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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Other namesAdiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis, gynoid lipodystrophy, orange peel syndrome
The dimpled appearance of cellulite
SpecialtyPlastic surgery

Cellulite or gynoid lipodystrophy (GLD) is the herniation of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue that manifests as skin dimpling and nodularity, often on the pelvic region (specifically the buttocks), lower limbs, and abdomen.[1][2] Cellulite occurs in most postpubescent females.[3] A review gives a prevalence of 85–98% of women of European descent,[4] but it is considerably less common in women of East Asian descent.[5][6] It is believed to be physiological rather than pathological. It can result from a complex combination of factors, including diet, sedentary lifestyle, hormonal imbalance or heredity, among others.


The causes of cellulite include changes in metabolism, physiology, diet and exercise habits, obesity, alteration of connective tissue structure, hormonal factors, genetic factors, the microcirculatory system, the extracellular matrix, and subtle inflammatory alterations.[1][3][7]

Hormonal factors[edit]

Hormones play a dominant role in the formation of cellulite. Estrogen is thought to be an important hormone in the development of cellulite, and it has been proposed that an imbalance of estrogen relative to progesterone may be associated with cellulite. However, there has been no reliable clinical evidence to support the claim that estrogen levels are linked to cellulite, and many women with elevated estrogen levels do not get cellulite.[8] Other hormones—including insulin, the catecholamines adrenaline, cortisol and noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin—are believed to participate in the development of cellulite.[1]

Genetic factors[edit]

There is a genetic element in individual susceptibility to cellulite.[1] Researchers have traced the genetic component of cellulite to particular polymorphisms in the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1A (HIF1a) genes.[9] Evidence for the heredity of cellulite is supported from studies showing that both the presence and degree of cellulite is similar between females within the same family.[6]

Predisposing factors[edit]

Several factors have been shown to affect the development of cellulite. Sex, ethnicity, biotype, distribution of subcutaneous fat, and predisposition to lymphatic and circulatory insufficiency have all been shown to contribute to cellulite.[1] It has been found to be considerably less common in women of East Asian descent, than in white women.[5]


A high-stress lifestyle causes an increase in the level of catecholamines, which have also been associated with the development of cellulite.[1] Inactivity can cause vascular stasis, contributing to cellulite formation.[5] Excessive carbohydrate consumption may also be related to cellulitis in some instances.[5]


Cellulite can be resistant to a variety of treatments.[10] Aside from "topical" products (creams, ointments) and injectables (collagenase), treatments for cellulite include non-invasive therapy such as mechanical suction or mechanical massage. Energy-based devices include radio frequency with deep penetration of the skin, ultrasound,[11] cryotherapy chambers,[12] laser and pulsed-light devices.[13][14] Combinations of mechanical treatments and energy-based procedures are widely used.[13] Ionithermie, a form of electrotherapy using electrical muscle stimulation, has been described as ineffective.[15][16] More invasive 'subcision' techniques utilize a needle-sized microscalpel to cut through the causative fibrous bands of connective tissue. Subcision procedures (manual, vacuum-assisted, or laser-assisted) are performed in specialist clinics with patients given local anaesthetic.[14]


In European populations, cellulite is thought to occur in 80–90% of post-adolescent females.[9][17] Its existence as a real disorder has been challenged,[18] and the prevailing medical opinion is that it is merely the "normal condition of many women".[19] It is rarely seen in males.[1]


The growing interest in cellulite has historically been linked to the growth of the cosmetic industry in the west, as well as globalization. The term was first used in the 1920s by spa and beauty services to promote their services, and began appearing in English-language publications in the late 1960s, with the earliest reference in Vogue magazine, "Like a swift migrating fish, the word cellulite has suddenly crossed the Atlantic."[20] According to Italian researcher Martina Grimaldi, cellulite has often been pathologized as a "disease" in Western European news media, and it has been shown that French magazines promoting this misinformation are often funded by pharmaceutical companies that manufacture anti-cellulite skincare products.[21] American journalist Susan Faludi notes that the Western beauty advertisements have attempted to portray cellulite as a symptom of women's social progress; that cellulite is caused by being a working, independent woman. Faludi writes that such messaging is motivated by a fear within the cosmetic industry that women's social progress might lead to declining profits in the beauty industry as a whole, noting that profits did decline in the 1970s and 1980s, the era of second-wave feminism.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rossi, Ana Beatris R; Vergnanini, Andre Luiz (2000). "Cellulite: A review". Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 14 (4): 251–62. doi:10.1046/j.1468-3083.2000.00016.x. PMID 11204512. S2CID 18504078.
  2. ^ Pinna, K. (2007). Nutrition and diet therapy. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. p. 178.
  3. ^ a b Avram, Mathew M (2004). "Cellulite: A review of its physiology and treatment". Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 6 (4): 181–5. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/14764170410003057. PMID 16020201. S2CID 20205700.
  4. ^ Janda, K; Tomikowska, A (2014). "Cellulite - causes, prevention, treatment". Annales Academiae Medicae Stetinensis. 60 (1): 29–38. PMID 25518090.
  5. ^ a b c d Young, V Leroy; DiBernardo, Barry E (18 May 2021). "Comparison of Cellulite Severity Scales and Imaging Methods". Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 41 (6): NP521–NP537. doi:10.1093/asj/sjaa226. PMC 8129470. PMID 32785706.
  6. ^ a b Rao, Jaggi; Gold, Michael H; Goldman, Mitchel P (2005). "A two-center, double-blinded, randomized trial testing the tolerability and efficacy of a novel therapeutic agent for cellulite reduction". Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 4 (2). Wiley: 96. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2165.2005.40208.x. ISSN 1473-2130. PMID 17166206. S2CID 10123904. "heredity: empirically, it has been found that the degree and presence of cellulite, as with body habitus, is often similar between females within the same family; race: Caucasian women are more likely to develop cellulite than Asian or African American women;9
  7. ^ Terranova, F.; Berardesca, E.; Maibach, H. (2006). "Cellulite: Nature and aetiopathogenesis". International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 28 (3): 157–67. doi:10.1111/j.1467-2494.2006.00316.x. PMID 18489272. S2CID 15618447.
  8. ^ Bissoon, Lionel (October 2006). The Cellulite Cure. Meso Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-9764821-0-9.
  9. ^ a b Emanuele, E; Bertona, M; Geroldi, D (2010). "A multilocus candidate approach identifies ACE and HIF1A as susceptibility genes for cellulite". Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 24 (8): 930–5. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03556.x. PMID 20059631. S2CID 26214159.
  10. ^ Rossi, Anthony M.; Katz, Bruce E. (2014). "A Modern Approach to the Treatment of Cellulite". Dermatologic Clinics. 32 (1): 51–9. doi:10.1016/j.det.2013.09.005. PMID 24267421.
  11. ^ Juhász M, Korta D, Mesinkovska NA (2018). "A Review of the Use of Ultrasound for Skin Tightening, Body Contouring, and Cellulite Reduction in Dermatology". Dermatol Surg. 44 (7): 949–963. doi:10.1097/DSS.0000000000001551. PMID 29846343. S2CID 44101405.
  12. ^ Ingargiola, Michael J.; Motakef, Saba; Chung, Michael T.; Vasconez, Henry C.; Sasaki, Gordon H. (2015). "Cryolipolysis for Fat Reduction and Body Contouring". Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 135 (6). Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health): 1581–1590. doi:10.1097/prs.0000000000001236. ISSN 0032-1052. PMC 4444424. PMID 26017594.
  13. ^ a b Gold, Michael H. (2012). "Cellulite – an overview of non-invasive therapy with energy-based systems". Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft. 10 (8): 553–8. doi:10.1111/j.1610-0387.2012.07950.x. PMID 22726640. S2CID 21099081.
  14. ^ a b Friedmann DP, Vick GL, Mishra V (2017). "Cellulite: a review with a focus on subcision". Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 10: 17–23. doi:10.2147/CCID.S95830. PMC 5234561. PMID 28123311.
  15. ^ Feldman, Melissa (2018-03-09). "Ionithermie Cellulite Treatment Reviews: Does It Work?". Consumer Health Digest. Retrieved 2023-12-24.
  16. ^ Coleman, Kyle M.; Coleman, William P.; Benchetrit, Arie (December 2009). "Non-Invasive, External Ultrasonic Lipolysis". Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 28 (4): 263–267. doi:10.1016/j.sder.2009.10.004. ISSN 1085-5629.
  17. ^ Wanner, M; Avram, M (2008). "An evidence-based assessment of treatments for cellulite". Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 7 (4): 341–5. PMID 18459514.Free access icon
  18. ^ Nürnberger, F.; Müller, G. (1978). "So-Called Cellulite: An Invented Disease". The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology. 4 (3): 221–9. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.1978.tb00416.x. PMID 632386.
  19. ^ MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Cellulite
  20. ^ Vogue 15 Apr 1968 110/1[non-primary source needed]
  21. ^ Hackett, Paul M. W.; Hayre, Christopher M. (2 December 2020). Handbook of Ethnography in Healthcare Research. Routledge. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-000-26398-5. In the text "The female body between science and guilt: The story of cellulite", Ghigi (2004) explains the role of French magazines in the construction of the concept of cellulite. It shows how two French magazines, "Votre Beaute" and "Marie Claire" have helped to show cellulite as a disease. In fact, these are two newspapers funded by pharmaceutical companies that manufacture anti-cellulite products.
  22. ^ Faludi, Susan (18 November 2009). Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. Crown. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-307-42687-1.

Further reading[edit]

  • Khan, Misbah H.; Victor, Frank; Rao, Babar; Sadick, Neil S. (2010). "Treatment of cellulite. Part I. Pathophysiology". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 62 (3): 361–70, quiz 371–2. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2009.10.042. PMID 20159304.
  • Khan, Misbah H.; Victor, Frank; Rao, Babar; Sadick, Neil S. (2010). "Treatment of cellulite. Part II. Advances and controversies". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 62 (3): 373–84, quiz 385–6. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2009.10.041. PMID 20159305.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Cellulite at Wikimedia Commons